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A Vacation Idea When You Know You Deserve A Little More

 

Some people make it a point to be extravagant every time they plan a trip. They stay in the best hotels, visit exotic locations, and seek the rarest forms of recreation. This is an incredible feeling, but most people must put a little extra planning into a trip in order to make it memorable.

Many people do however, arrive a point in their lives where they realize that they need more out of a hard-earned vacation. After all, this is what is at the heart of enjoying a break, an escape, and an adventure. Enjoying a trip more means taking every aspect of hard work out of the equation. Truly memorable trips are just that because of one key thing. There should be no hard work at all!

The reason many people insist on certain luxuries when they travel is to eliminate the sweat factor. Pursuing unique amenities is best enjoyed when a person knows that they have earned something special. Finding something truly special when it comes to travel means going beyond standard fixtures of luxury. It means zero effort in all forms of planning and arranging. It also means luxury that is ultimately private and personal.

If someone wants a truly exceptional and carefree travel experience, they seriously need to consider letting their vacation cares go by hiring a concierge service. This type of service is a bit different than the concierge found at a hotel’s front desk. It is a service that takes custom travel information and designs an experience where the client doesn’t worry about a single thing. All travel, dining, recreation, and festivities are the concern of the service.

Best of all, a concierge travel service allows clients to stay in luxury vacation villas ranging from penthouses to modern mansions. Groceries are stocked, private security is on-site, the pool is prepared, and there could even be a chartered helicopter waiting to go anywhere. The villa is completely private, and the client doesn’t have to lift one finger during the stay.

This is true luxury! It’s not about brands, expenses, and bragging rights. It’s about a person having the satisfaction of knowing that a true vacation reward was earned and experienced. A truly luxurious vacation happens when a concierge team does the work. Consider this option the next time a window opens to take the trip of a lifetime.

 

Photo by Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash

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Adventure: That’s The Real Reason Idaho Is Called The Gem State

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We have a fascination with the nicknames given to the US states; so much so, we recently took off to Idaho simply because of its moniker. We just did it. We packed the car and went on a backpacking whim. It wasn’t until we got there that we found out different people believe different things. Some say it was a translation that means Gem of the Mountain, others say it is to do with the native gemstone garnet, and some say it is simply because this state is spoiled with natural beauty. We couldn’t argue with any of them.

But whatever the origins of its name, one thing we realized very quickly was, wow, does that place deserve its name. Summertime in Idaho is amazing. There are just so many adventures to be had in Idaho, and here are the best of the bunch:

Jump Creek Hike

When we get to a place, we love to ask the locals what they recommend. Forget Tripadvisor or seeing what a place looks like first, we just love asking locals for their number one must-do Idaho activity, and so many people said hike Jump Creek in Marsing. We don’t want to give too much away, but there is a secluded waterfall and it is beautiful. That’s all we’ll say, though.

Payette River Adventure

Everyone has a little streak of adventure in them, somewhere, and what better way to let that beast out then to get wet and wild on the Payette River. The whitewater rafting here is immense. It’s so exciting. The adrenaline rush, the sun, the splashes of cool water, the banks and banks of pine trees and mountain views. Yeah, it’s an absolute must do.

Swim At Sandy Point

It’s summer. Nothing beats hanging out by the water with your friends and family in the summer, and that is what makes the Sandpoint City Beach Park one of the most awesome places anywhere. You step out of the Best Western Edgewater Resort and bam! you’re hit with these magnificent views down Lake Pend Oreille. Swimming, boating, volleyball, lounging in the sun, tennis, a stroll downtown; it’s all at your fingertips.

Shoshone Falls

We mentioned it earlier, how the Gem State got its name from its natural beauty. Well, the Shoshone Falls give credence to that myth. It’s almost 50 feet higher than Niagara Falls and it is breathtaking. It’s that tonic for tired eyes that everyone needs to see. The sounds of the crashing water, the rock formations, the sheer size. If this sounds like your thing, then you need to get to Twin Falls this summer.

A Fair Like No Other

Apparently, in Idaho, the Western Idaho Fair is like the last hurrah of the summer that everyone gets involved with. It’s that last bit of fun before school starts again. However, when we say fair, what we mean is a party like no other. It’s as if the 1950s has returned, bringing all the fairground rides and rock n’ roll spirit along with it. You won’t believe it until you see it with your own two eyes, stamp along with the music all night and wake up the next day still smiling.

 

 

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Your March Travel Guide Is Here

Yes, spring is coming very soon and it falls in the lively month of March! If you are raring to go after being cooped at home due to the harsh winter season, then let this March guide help you find the best deals in travel destinations.

Here’s your March travel guide and start planning before it gets too busy. Remember, Spring Break!

March Travel Guide - Up to 20% off select destinations now through 3/29 at Tours4fun.com!
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Feeling Stressed? Head To France To Restore Your Wellbeing!

During our everyday busy lives, many of us often find it hard to relax. Whether it’s work, family issues or simply trying to fit everything into your schedule, it’s no wonder so many people feel stressed and exhausted. Some studies suggest that certain modern advances, such as social media and processed foods, can also lead to people feeling stressed and even depressed. If you have been feeling a bit overwhelmed of late, you have probably considered doing what any sane person would in this instance: booking a vacation! But before you do so, stop and think about what you need out of your vacation. So many of us take a break for a week or so to simply forget about our troubles; then we come home and find things exactly as we left them. This can end up being a vicious circle that doesn’t end your stress and also doesn’t let you fully enjoy your vacation. With this in mind, have you ever thought about going on a vacation specifically designed for your wellbeing? Wellbeing vacations have seen a huge spike in popularity over recent years, with many hardworking people leaving the city in favor of solitude and a week to rejuvenate themselves. So where exactly can you go to find such places of calm and relaxation? Well, if you are looking at Europe, there’s no better place than chic and cosmopolitan France. Here are just some of the best French escapes where you can enjoy taking some much-needed time out.



The mountain resort

Think of rural France and one thing that probably comes to mind is the French Alps. They stretch across and into a number of different countries, but in France they boast 24 peaks – one of which is the famous Mont Blanc, standing at an altitude of 4,810 meters. Sure, the cities and countryside of France has plenty to offer too. But if you are looking for somewhere otherworldly and serene, there really is no better location than the mountains. The air is fresh and crisp, and you may find yourself gasping at the snowy backdrop – unspoiled and like something out of a movie scene. There are plenty of resorts to choose from, some with luxury  accommodation such as Freedom Ski, Morzine. Trying your hand at skiing down some of the famous runs is a must – and we all know exercise is great for your wellbeing, as it is a natural mood-booster.


The yoga retreat

If chilly temperatures and high-octane activities aren’t for you, you may find moving down to the south of France a little more suitable. Temperatures here are generally warm, as the climate is on the cusp of Mediterranean. This means dry, hot summers, warm falls and mild winters. Therefore, you can be sure that whatever time of year you choose to visit, you will be able to spend some time outside. This is just as well, as the landscape is frequently stunning, making it a great place to attend a yoga retreat. These kind of retreats often involve practicing mindfulness and meditation alongside the yoga, as well as eating a fresh, vegan diet (almost always provided for you). So what’s in it for you? Yoga can bring your mind and body back into equilibrium, and taking the time to learn it can mean you are equipped with a new life skill. It can be the perfect way to unwind and feel ready to tackle anything life throws at you.


The red wine detox

Okay, so this one does appear to be in stark contrast to the other two. But you may have heard about the popularity of red wine in France – after all, the country is home to some of the very best wineries and vineyards. Popular varieties you may have heard of include Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. According to certain studies, red wine is said to have a number of positive health effects – such as promoting a healthy heart, lowering cholesterol and warding off dementia. Health retreats where red wine plays a notable role have become very popular in France in recent years, where the alcohol is drank alongside healthy home-cooked meals. Due to a culture based heavily around food and drink, French wine is actually designed to be tasted alongside certain types of food. A bit of indulgence, on a healthy scale, can only be a good thing for both your health and mental wellbeing. If there has ever been an excuse to pick up a bottle of the good stuff, it’s this!


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San Antonio Special Sites

Posted in places to visit, San Antonio, Texas, travel tips, USA
on October 30, 2014

Visitors come to San Antonio to enjoy the charm of the city, to re-live the city’s dramatic history, to walk the famous River Walk, and to take part in recreational attractions such as Sea World, Six Flags Over Texas, the best public golf courses in Texas, and so much more. 

River Walk

This is a unique network of two parallel sidewalks that go alongside the banks of the San Antonio River one story under the Downtown San Antonio streets. Shops and restaurants line this pedestrian street which connects major tourist areas. The Fiesta San Antonio springtime River Parade features flowery floats on the river. 

Four Missions

Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan. Mission San Jose, and Mission Espada are accessible from downtown. For example, Mission Concepcion is a 200-year-old restored Franciscan mission. It is beautifully painted, has more original stonework than any of the other missions, has a rotunda in the center, a couple of small chapels, spectacular original wall frescos, and is still a functioning church. 

Fort Sam Houston

Located in the heart of San Antonio, this fort originated in 1845 when a garrison and regional headquarters were established. The Post continued to expand with the addition of the Infantry Post in the 1880s. Designated as Fort Sam Houston in 1890 and named for the first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, it expanded again in 1905 and then with the New Post of the 1930s. It is the largest collection of more than 800 historic buildings in the Department of Defense. The Fort was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and as a U.S. National Historic Landmark District on May 15, 1975. 

Click here to learn more about tours to these and many other attractions in San Antonio.

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St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, Ireland

St. Patrick’s Festival is an annual celebration held in Dublin, Ireland. It was established in November 1995. Since then, it has become a well-known celebration around the world, making the Irish proud of their ancestry, talents and skills shown throughout the world.

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and revelries are ringing around Dublin on this joyous occasion to celebrate St. Patrick.

All photos below are from http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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Our Studio Ghibli Experience

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My daughter and I are avid fans of Studio Ghibli. We have both watched a lot of Studio Ghibli movies countless of times and we could repeat the dialogues over and over. You can now imagine how fanatic we are of Studio Ghibli!

So, it is a dream come true to visit the place where beautiful Japanese animation started. Well, technically, it’s the museum but to be in that place is just magical! So, when we finalized the plan to travel to Tokyo as early as October, I booked our Studio Ghibli Museum entrance tickets in advance because you couldn’t enter the museum without the voucher of the paid entrance pass and booking.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation production company created in 1985 by Hayao Mizayaki and Isao Takahata. It is the famous studio behind the animation releases like Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, The Cat Returns and many more. The English-dubbed version of the movies were dubbed by famous Hollywood thespians like Christian Bale (Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle), Billy Crystal (Calcifer in Howl’s Moving Castle), Kirsten Dunst as Kiki, Anne Hathaway as Haru in the Cat Returns. They are just few amongst the top actors and actresses who lent their voice in the English version which were all released by Disney.

I guess you can see by the pictures I have posted here how wonderful we felt stepping in the realms of our beloved Studio Ghibli Museum. I compare the feeling to stepping inside Disneyland, the happiest place in the planet. And yes, even if I am exaggerating, I cannot put into words the happiness my daughter and I felt being there, soaking all the wonders and beauty of the museum even for just few hours. It was worth it!

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We started our journey in the morning of Dec. 4, 2013. We left Shinjuku around 9 a.m. and caught the JR Chuo line train going to Mitaka. It wasn’t really hard to find because as soon as you exit the Mitaka train station, you could see the sign leading to the exit to Studio Ghibli area.  We just followed that direction and saw a very big, yellow and super cute bus that really stood out from the other buses around. It was the bus that would take you to Studio Ghibli. I forgot how much the fare was.

It was brief ride from the Mitaka train station to Studio Ghibli. We passed by residential areas and small stream and there are markers that show how far Studio Ghibli is which is fitting to Studio Ghibli’s norm – cute and antiquated!

Alas, we reached Studio Ghibli and we started taking pictures here and there! There’s a big Totoro stuffed doll inside a ticket booth for decoration purposes. The entrance was actually in the other direction where the big Totoro was. People just loved that area because of the photo op with Totoro.

Our voucher was exchanged to 3 film reels of famous Studio Ghibli movies which are ours as keepsake.

Picture taking is not allowed once inside so I can’t share anything about the wonders we saw inside. The museum is like a big mansion with several rooms to explore. There is a coffee shop and playroom for the little tykes around. There is also a souvenir shop in the higher floor and I bought several keychains, pin and face towel.

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I don’t mind going back to Studio Ghibli, probably stay a bit longer and maybe watch some of the movies inside too.

If you’re planning to visit Tokyo anytime soon, please include Studio Ghibli in your itinerary. It is certainly something you shouldn’t miss. I bought my museum pass from UK and the voucher was sent to me via Royal Mail. Just visit this site for more info and depending on which country you are in. Don’t forget to arrange for your Studio Ghibli Museum pass even before you arrive in Japan. There are also outlets that sell the tickets but you’ll never know if the dates you prefer are fully booked if you buy during your vacation in Japan. I say, plan it and purchase it in advance that will fit within your scheduled vacation in the Land of the Rising Sun.

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